1964 Simca Abarth 2000 Corsa BerlinettaSOLD
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After leaving Cisitalia in 1948, Austrian-born engineer Carlo Abarth set up as an independent engineer in Turin, the home of the Italian auto industry. From producing induction and exhaust systems, Abarth branched out into selling performance kits for production cars, later building a highly successful series of aerodynamically stylish sports prototypes and limited-series production cars.

Having concentrated mainly on the modification of Fiat cars, Carlo Abarth began forging links with the French Simca concern in the early 1960s, introducing a series of tuned Simca-Abarth road cars and, in 1962, producing a pretty, 1.3-litre GT coupé similar in style to the existing Fiat-Abarth 1000. Notable as the first car produced with an all-Abarth engine, the 1300GT was based on the newly introduced Simca 1000 whose chassis and suspension it used in modified form. A four-cylinder twin-cam like Abarth’s 1-litre Fiat-based unit, the all-alloy Simca engine differed by employing horizontal, as opposed to down-draught, carburettors, and dry-sump lubrication. The prototype was reported as clocking 142mph on the autostrada, an outstanding performance by a 1,300cc car and one that must have given those racing Alfa Giuliettas cause for concern.

Abarth’s next Simca-based model - the 1600GT - arrived in 1963. Though recognisably an evolution of the preceding 1300GT, the newcomer showed the influence of recent aerodynamic developments in the form of an upturned ‘duck tail’ rear end similar to that of Ferrari’s contemporary GTs and sports-racers. Essentially the same as the 1300GT’s, the chassis featured independent suspension and Girling disc brakes all round. The engine’s cast-iron, production-based block was topped by an aluminium-alloy, twin-cam cylinder head featuring two magneto-sparked plugs per cylinder. The gearbox was an all-synchromesh six-speeder. 153bhp and 150mph were claimed.

Abarth’s collaboration with Simca ended following the latter’s acquisition by Chrysler in 1965, but before then the relationship’s final flowering had arrived in the form of the potent Simca-Abarth 2000GT. Constructed around a Simca 1500 block, the latter’s engine came equipped with a pair of the largest Weber carburettors ever made - 58mm-choke DCOs - and at the peak of its development produced a staggering 200+bhp.

This example of one of the rarer and most desirable Abarth GTs, chassis ‘0051’, was a well-known car with a successful racing history. Its first owner was Dr Hans Kühnis, a Swiss chemical engineer and successful privateer in whose hands the car won the 2 litre class of the 1964 Swiss GT Championship. According to Swiss Abarth authority and collector Englebert Möll, “Kühnis always had Abarth fit the latest homologated improvements to his car. On the Monday morning after every race, his wife would be instructed to contact Abarth and make the arrangements. His 2000GT had everything.” Dr Kühnis later campaigned Porsche prototypes, and the Simca-Abarth was laid up until sold to racing car dealer Scholtysek in Frankfurt, from whom it was acquired by Raoul Goetschman in Neuchatel. He eventually sold ‘0051’ to Lausanne-based dealer Carlo Perego, who had the engine rebuilt, and from him it immediately passed to the current French owner circa 1988.

‘0051’ has seen little use in his collection but runs well and is still in original, unmodified condition. A giant-killing car - quicker than the Ferrari 250GTO at Montlhery in ‘64 - it is a front-line historic racer in the right hands. We have just agreed its eligibility with Patrick Peter’s organisation for the Tour Auto, Tour d’Espagne and the Classic Endurance Series, curtain opening one hour races for the Le Mans series which this year take place at Nogaro, Spa, Nürburgring, Donington and Jarama.

Compare this Simca-Abarth to its period rivals the Alfa Romeo TZ1 and Porsche 904 and it’s easy to see what good value it represents today.

Reference Number 4581

as of 10/14/2006

Car 1964 Simca Abarth 2000 Corsa Berlinetta
VIN 1350051 
Known History

Swiss GT Championship Class-winning